Author by : Holly Elizabeth Fling
Languange : en
Publisher by : Unknown
Format Available : PDF, ePub, Mobi
Total Read : 99
Total Download : 270
File Size : 47,7 Mb
Description : In countless passages of nineteenth-century literature, nonhuman matter is lively and energetic, bodies lose animacy, and the world transforms into an unfamiliar place. But these are the passages that we tend to pass over when we read. Perhaps, we dismiss these moments as too fantastic for nineteenth-century realism. These passages, however, are vital to a clearer perception of realism, as they reveal matter's vibrancy and disrupt false human-centric narratives about the world. This project, "The Walrus Through the Looking-Glass: Modern, Dynamic Boundaries in Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing," is a new materialist examination of lively matter in literature written by women during the long nineteenth-century. The six chapters in this dissertation are case studies that focus on nonhuman matter in six texts: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Charlotte Bront©±'s Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, George Eliot's Middlemarch, and Virginia Woolf's The Years. Examples of the matter with which this dissertation is concerned include the Bertrams' profile portraits in Fanny's East room, Helen's locks of hair and slips of paper that haunt Lucy's new life as Lady Audley, and the miniature of Will's grandmother that hangs in Dorothea's boudoir. This dissertation, then, is an experiment in how nineteenth-century literature can open up in new ways when we read counterintuitively. By taking a new approach to materiality and by drawing on the challenges posed by new materialisms, we can begin to conceive of the material objects in nineteenth-century literature as having lives of their own. Of course, opening our minds to this new perception of the world is difficult, because it challenges the narratives that structure our own lives and our understanding of the world. But accepting the challenge to do so opens up new possibilities for the texts we read and teach, for our students and ourselves, and for the material world.